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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  February 22, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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a hell of a primary. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews from washington. leading off tonight the exorcist. rick santorum has got a thing with the devil. he's talked about him, warned about him like he knows him just a little too personally. now drudge is on santorum's tail and even rushbo says he has to explain himself. not that things needed heating up today. this afternoon santorum said president obama is out to crush the nation's judeo-christian principles. can even rick santorum win a two-front war against democrats and the devil, even if he says they're in cahoots. plus, how to lose independent women in ten easy steps.
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the republicans have a plan for it. just keep trying to limit contraception and mandate ultrasounds for women seeking abortions. although virginia's republican governor backed down a bit today, if you are on the obama campaign, you're sitting on the sidelines yelling, way to go, guys. also, remember the old ad, when e.f. hutton talks people listen? these days when mitt romney talks people laugh. or wince. the trees are the right height. i was severely conservative. what is mitt talking about? literally. we'll ask his former, you won't believe it, debate coach. and the singer in chief is back at it again last night. there he is. let's listen. ♪ come on baby don't you want to go ♪ >> well, the guy can sing. we're learning that. it's going to be more of that in the side show. let me finish with the closeness of this thing coming in this national election. wait until you see the quinnipiac numbers tonight. we begin with santorum's comments on satan in 2008. michael steele served as chair of the republican national
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committee. david corn is mother jones washington bureau chief. both are msnbc political hot shots. here it is. fair enough. four years ago. no, your big 16-ounce gloves against each other. back in 2008 rick santorum spoke at a catholic university down in florida and spoke about the threat of satan in the united states. in fact, on the united states. let's listen to what rick had to say back then. >> this is not a political war at all. this is not a cultural war at all. this is a spiritual war. and the father of lies has his sights on what you would think the father of lies, satan, would have his sights on -- a good, decent, powerful, influential country. the united states of america. if you were satan, who would you attack in this day and age? there is no one else to go after other than the united states. >> there is no one else to go after but the united states, mr. devil. last night rick santorum tried to put those remarks into
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context. let's watch. >> i'm a person of faith. i believe in good and evil. i think if somehow or another because you're a person of faith you believe in good and evil disqualifies you for president, we're going to have a very small pool of candidates. we're talking about trying to get america growing. that's what my speeches are about and what we're going to talk about in this campaign. if they want to dig up old speeches talking to a religious group, they can go ahead and do so but i'm going to stay on message. >> well, today he had more to say on the subject. i want to catch up with our two panelists right now. michael, what is he -- he is giving speeches about the devil at a catholic university, fair enough. >> four years ago. >> four years ago. do you think that's fine? >> absolutely. i've given such speeches myself. you know, i was a former seminarian and giving motivational speeches and the like, yeah. you touch on the things that culturally and spiritually affect people, and i think there is a resonance out there for what rick is saying.
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now, running for president, people aren't used to having a presidential candidate talk in those terms and so the ear is a little jarred by it. >> what about his theology? what about his theology? even in the context of four years ago. that the devil is out to get the u.s.? >> well, i think he's talking about a spiritual malaise that has affected the country. you go to any church, synagogue, imam, and christian church on sundays or fridays, you hear that message. it's not a foreign message to be heard. >> your thought? >> you are being very charitable. >> i'm not being charitable. >> go ahead. >> listen. he said satan is targeting the u.s. alone. he is leaving canada and belgium apparently to their own devices. but the thing is he also said it's not just about good and evil in the world and using the devil as sort of a metaphoric way. he said satan is taking control, has seized control of the academia, of protestant churches, main line protestant churches have fallen to satan. now, go make that argument as
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you go out there and campaign. it was four years ago. this wasn't some youthful indiscretion many years in the past. it shows how he thinks about the world. >> all in that same speech. >> yeah. but if you do believe that your political foes are motivated by satan or part of a satanic plot or -- >> did he say that? >> listen, he said -- >> he didn't say that. >> extrapolate -- >> david, i've given you -- >> let me make the point. he says politics in this country have fallen to satan so he is saying what he doesn't like about politics -- >> a lot of people believe that. i'm surprised you didn't include the press. >> what i'm saying is if you believe that, how can you compromise with the other side? >> we have fresh meat. we're not talking about four years ago though i think it is in context. today rick santorum, candidate for president, on the campaign trail for president, took on the sitting president barack obama on his moral values. let's watch today's news. >> the greatness of america is we have such diversity with this
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proviso -- e pluribus unum, right? out of many, one. essentially we are going to have to hold together on some set of moral codes and principles, and we're seeing evidently what the president's moral codes and principles are about. we see a president who is systematically trying to crush the traditional judeo-christian principles in this country. i mean, you -- you saw it. you saw it with obama care and the implementation of obama care where his values are going to be imposed on a church's values. >> well, there you have it. fresh news. the president is guilty of crushing traditional christianity and jewish values and principles. he's crushing them. he is doing that.
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he is bringing forward his theology of four years ago right into the public square right into his campaign. he is not being squeamish. >> no, he's not. look, you can disagree with him all day long. i give anyone props who is willing to go out there in the context of running for office to put that -- put their faith alongside of that effort. i'm not going to begrudge him that. you can argue around the edges about whether you agree or disagree. let me finish my point. you can't criticize -- you can criticize me on my policies. you can't criticize me on my faith because that is something that is core to what i believe. >> if you're talking about running for office you can. >> let me make my point. i am not going to criticize you on your faith no matter what you say. >> i'm not running for president. >> doesn't matter. whether you are or not my point -- >> he is putting his faith out there. >> let me ask you this. rick santorum is pro life and would like to establish what he calls a common set of moral principles.
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he really does want to impose if you will his values on a very pluralistic society. doesn't he want to do that? >> i don't think he -- he's saying that the country has, from out of many, one. we as a country have settled on certain moral codes or values and what in the context of what i was going to say in the context of this race, looking at the president's handling decision on, you know, contraceptions and the church. looking theatpresident's decision to cut off scholarship funding for places like carroll high school in washington, d.c., that would empower young african-american boys and girls, there is a moral code there that attends that policy. >> let's get back to where we're strongest. not who is right and moralistic. by the way, christians and my religion doesn't think of the devil as a metaphor. it's a real thing. i don't want anybody watching confused about what we believe. here is rush limbaugh weighing in.
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let's go back to the politics where we are strong. a warning santorum will need to have answers when he -- here is rushbo, defender of the right and the realm, saying he has to answer questions about what he's been saying, even four years ago. let's listen to limbaugh. >> it's part of a predictable attempt to impugn santorum as an absolute religious nut and wacko. but he did say these things. and he is going to have to have an answer for these things when queried. >> what do you think? >> i agree. >> so corn is right? >> no. the problem i have with corn is that corn is sitting in judgment of his faith values and saying that therefore i get to scrutinize and say whether it's right or wrong. >> are you doing that? >> i'm not saying right or wrong. >> you are. you are sitting in judgment of it. >> i am saying you can evaluate them. >> stop for a second. let me referee.
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are you questioning rick santorum's right to his religious beliefs? >> not at all. >> what are you questioning? >> the impact on his policy view of the world and his -- >> where? where? >> if he says protestant churches are controlled by satan that seems to me to indicate he has a certain view of protestants. >> what policy, david, are you specifically addressing that to? what policy are you specifically applying that to? >> stop. how can you -- how can you be president of the entire nation if you believe part of them are part of satan -- >> where is the policy -- >> abortion, contraception? all these moral -- >> where is the policy implication? >> let me help you out. this isn't complicated. i think what he is talking about, not to speak for rick santorum and not defending his view but simply to translate him, he is talking about some of the mainstream protestant religions now that accept same sex marriage, they accept same sex relationships. they accept gay people in their
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priesthood. >> they accept abortion. >> these are all policy matters. >> he thinks they are wrong. you are saying he has no right to say that? >> he can say whatever he wants to say but he can be judged -- >> can he believe that? >> he can believe whatever he wants to. but he can't if he wants to be president of the united states? let me ask you this. how do you then resolve barack obama sitting in reverend wright's church for 20 years and hearing black liberation theology and how he has applied that to his policies? how do you justify that? >> very simple. >> of course. >> has barack obama espoused these theological views? >> you see it in the policies. the difference between barack obama and -- >> this isn't working. let me try something here. let's let sarah palin speak. >> all right. >> now we can agree on something. she's on "sean hannity" last night. she went after the media for focusing on this.
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even having this donny brook you guys are having. let's watch. >> they will attack any conservative who boldly proclaims their faith and talks about there is good and evil in the world. and that's what rick santorum was talking about. and this was a speech he gave back in 2008 where he named evil as satan. and for these lame stream media characters to get all wee-weed up about that, first you have to ask yourself have they ever attended a sunday school class even? have they never heard this terminology before? that's why they just got so, you know, whacked out about this speech. >> can we listen to chris christie to hear a man i consider fairly secular in his thinking and then respond. here is chris christie talking on "gma" about the very topic. he supports romney by the way and had his thumb on the scale here going after santorum's satan remarks. then michael, mr. chairman, i want you to respond and then you.
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>> listen. i think anything you say as a presidential candidate is relevant. i mean, it's by definition relevant. you're asking to be president of the united states. i don't think he is right about that. it is relevant what he says. i think people want to make an evaluation, complete evaluation of anybody who asks to sit in the oval office. i think it's relevant. in that respect. do i think it's the things we should be as a party talking about and emphasizing at the moment? no. >> relevant or not relevant? >> trust me, i'm not disagreeing with the relevance. i agree with that. >> it's not relevant? >> you don't get to sit in judgment of it. which is what i believe you're doing and i agree with sarah palin by the way. >> good. i'll take that. >> go, sarah. >> it's highly relevant. you can evaluate these people on the basis of how they see the world. >> i am somewhere in between. thank you, michael steele and david corn. this is what people are going to be arguing about this year, unfortunately. the devil. coming up the more republicans talk about limiting birth control or requiring women to get ultrasound before having an abortion the more vulnerable
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they are with many independent women. not speaking for everybody, but this stuff from my conversations is very concerning to women. they don't like it. now the virginia governor who wants to be on the republican ticket i'm told is pulling back from this stuff. he is not happy with all this talk about restricting women in terms of abortion. you're watching "hardball." we'll talk about that when we come back. hang in women. this is going to be hot. only on msnbc.
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new poll numbers for the general election. check the "hardball" scoreboard. according to a new quinnipiac poll, president obama is virtually tied with mitt romney around the country. 46% to 44%. against rick santorum the president does a point better, 47/44. now look at the new associated press/jfk poll. obama leads romney nationally by eight and he leads santorum by 52 to 43. now look at a couple key states that have been battlegrounds but aren't too close right now. in wisconsin, president obama
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leads romney by 15 points in a new poll from marquette law school. 53-38. and the president's lead over santorum in the badger state is 11. 51-40. in michigan obama has an 18-point lead over romney in our new nbc news/marist poll, 51-33. against santorum the president's lead is 26. 55-29. finally to arizona, a state that was seen as out of reach for the democrats but is tightening. romney leads the president by only 45 to 40. santorum is up by three, 45-42. we'll have much more on these michigan and arizona numbers later in the show.'s p loaded pato with bacon. it's good. honey, i love you... oh my gosh, oh my gosh.. look at these big pieces of potato. ♪ what's that? big piece of potato. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. you walk into a conventional mattress
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welcome back to "hardball." in what could signal a major political tipping point, virginia governor bob mcdonnell today said he would oppose a republican bill that would have required women to get an invasive ultrasound before
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getting an abortion in virginia. mcdonnell, who is often talked about as a potential vp nominee for especially romney was criticized nationally for his earlier intent to sign a bill like that. and by more than a thousand protesters recently at the state capitol this monday. this comes following weeks of fighting here in washington over access to contraception, women's health care. the fights in which republicans appeared ready to battle hard to stop that contraceptive coverage as part of the health care law. what are the politics at play here and how will these fights affect women voters as we head toward the 2012 election? in fact, most women, well most voters are women. joan walsh is an msnbc political analyst and melinda hennenberger writes for "the washington post." emily's list is an organization which helps people get elected to politics. the political group which supports candidates who favor abortion rights is using last week's fights against women's health care in a new fundraising.
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it went up today in florida, california, illinois. let's listen to part of it. >> the power to decide whether or not women will use contraception lies with her. >> where are the women? >> so who should be heard? you. join us. go to emilyslist.org today. >> melinda, i want to have a general conversation with you and joan about this. you are both great people on this program obviously. i'm obviously going to listen to you mostly rather than talk., but i keep hearing from the women who produce us here, the senior producers around me that they're very concerned that the government especially the republican party, exclusively the republican party, is making a move here to question whether women should get contraception as part of the national health care plan. here in virginia across the potomac river and already done this in eight states they are pushing to require women who chose to come to a clinic to have an abortion have to sit and watch something as part of a
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responsibility that they, the state decides they must meet that they can impose on somebody to look at an ultrasound or have in fact an ultrasound test. what does this politically mean? what is going on here politically? >> on the ultrasound issue in particular i think this decision by bob mcdonnell to pull back to reverse himself to say this isn't going to happen is very, very important. i think we can draw from that that he is not only saying this doesn't work for virginia. when you read his statement he is saying this is actually at odds with republican rhetoric, that we as a party cannot say we, you know, invasive government, anathema to us, you know, a transvaginal ultrasound is not invasive. i just think the disconnect was too big and they realized this pushback. i mean, they see the kind of money women's groups are raising, pro-choice women's groups are raising. >> so you see pure politics -- >> i think they see it goes too far.
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>> joan, do you agree this is basically a political decision by the conservative governor of virginia that they've gone too far here potentially? >> oh, absolutely. i think he had signaled he was going to sign it. he's been on the far right on all of these decisions, chris, so this is really about the media and women's groups and individual women, wonderful women in virginia standing up and saying, you're going too far. most of us think that the outside your body ultrasound bill is also going too far. it is not like that is a great thing. it is very intrusive on a woman's decision. it is meant to stop abortion, stop the legal exercise of a right. so it's not like that is so great. but this really did show how out of touch these people are that they were really willing to say, a woman has to submit to being penetrated if she wants an abortion. it's crazy. >> let me go to dangerous territory here. >> sure. >> i think sometimes common sense should interfere with the
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usual political discussions. ironically, it was the president of the united states who comes across to most people as rather secular. he has a christian faith. he goes to church. but he seems basically a secular politician i think it is fair to say. he doesn't wear his religion on his sleeve whatever his religion might be in his case and it is obviously a christian religion. but when you push something through that says women should have access free to contraception that to me will probably be the greatest reduction potentially in the number of abortions in this country. >> right. >> if every woman has free -- there is no real financial excuse not to use protection to use the common phrase if you choose to have sex and you don't want to have children and, therefore, the great irony is that's one way to reduce radically the number of abortions. now along come the conservatives with their way of reducing the number of abortions. their way of doing it is make you look at this ultrasound as you go in to get an abortion. >> right. >> i'd say get there for the takeoff not the landing. or the beginning. get there when you're going to
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stop the conception. get there when you're not going to have the unwanted pregnancy. in the millions and millions of cases where women now get access to free birth control rather than the few isolated cases where a woman might change her mind. look, i'm up for free decision making. if they did have this testing and make a decision, fine. >> i just think that, you know, the catholic church has been working in this country for universal health care since 1919 and they should take the victory and go home. i mean, this is a very important -- it's such an important step forward from what we've all been working for all this long. i hope the compromise holds. we'll see whether it does or not. but i just think back to the politics of the thing, it really -- i think it's why i wrote the piece today that, you know, it's democrats who really want to make the conversation about this. >> joan, you pick up here. it's not just democrats who want to fight. as we speak, fred upton, boehner, canter, the whole
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republican leadership on both sides is pushing a big bill to change the health care bill to deny people free contraception. >> right. >> i'm just saying that in the presidential race they would rather not make this the talking point. >> the president did something very important. he listened to the institute of medicine and he made a medical choice to say that insurance companies must provide contraception cost free because it keeps women healthy and because it actually saves money. so that is a no-brainer. and the fact that these republicans from rick santorum and the entire field to john boehner think that they want to play politics with this and repeal that requirement when there are so many other requirements. look, i know they want to repeal all of obama care as they call it but they're focusing on this because they do want to eliminate women's access to contraception. so, melinda, i so disagree with you on the notion that republicans are ginning this up.
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excuse me, democrats are ginning this up. >> i don't mean they're ginning it up. i think they are -- it's brilliant for them. why wouldn't they want to talk about it? it is a complete win for them on the political side. >> they are talking about it also because it is a real issue, they're not talking about it to raise money. >> they are in fact raising money. both sides. >> absolutely. but that is not the only issue. they are talking about it because it is a real issue. >> it's an outrage. >> it's not but you make it sound as if they are only doing it to raise money. they are doing it because women's rights are under threat. >> we'll bring this up again. thank you both. i respect both of you so much. melinda and joan. thank you. >> thanks, chris. >> it is ash wednesday today. i am a little late getting there but i'll get there. thank you for coming on. first al green, now b.b. king. president obama is singing again and he is really good. next in the side show. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] what if an entire car insurance company
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back to "hardball." now for the side show. first up, show time at the white house. do you think this was something you'd only see once? ♪ i am so in love with you >> president obama welcomed the host of big names to the white house last night including b.b. king and mick jagger as part of a blues music celebration for pbs that commemorated black history month. apparently nobody missed the president's performance last month. let's catch it now. >> i heard you. >> come on. >> i heard you singing al green. so you done started something. you got to keep it up now. you can do it.
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come on. woo! ♪ come on baby don't you want to go ♪ ♪ come on baby don't you want to go ♪ ♪ same old place sweet home chicago ♪ >> you know you're president when mick jagger brings you the microphone. once again the president does his part in helping the music business. sales of "let's stay together" spiked after the president's rendition last month. next up, earlier this week, newt gingrich blasted president obama's energy policy as anti-american and in favor hive gas prices. he also offered up this dig at the president's offer for fuel efficient vehicles. >> let me start with the simple premise that most oklahomans will understand. you cannot put a gun rack in a
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volt. >> well, i said it last night. that is an asinine comment. it still is. was that a challenge, however? to one guy in atlanta, that's what it sounded like. here's the outcome. >> he said you can't put a gun rack in a volt. i take this to heart because i am in a volt. and as you can see, you can put a gun rack in the back of a volt. >> i guess newt must have taken someone else's word for that one. anyway, back to "hardball" up next new polls show a tight race in the crucial michigan primary now just six days away. we've got the numbers for you coming up next when you come back. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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welcome back to "hardball." it's six days now before the primaries in michigan and arizona. we have a new nbc/marist poll that has some good news from both leading candidates in michigan. rick santorum has pulled into a statistical tie with mitt romney. romney is at 37. santorum at 35. within the margin of error.
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in arizona, however, romney has more breathing room and beats santorum by 16 points. i'd call that breathing room. 43 to santorum's 27. but these numbers tell a big story about how the race is playing out. we'll get into it with nbc political director and chief white house correspondent chuck todd. so great to have you here as always. >> all right. >> let's talk about this race generally. if romney squeaks next week and wins by two or three or four or whatever, can he claim victory in michigan? >> i think a win is a win at this point. particularly, the romney people will feel like they won a huge victory because they were down 8 or 9 points in their own polling. >> is he coming back because of the dresden-style bombing, the carpet bombing? >> it's not the same. >> 3-1 though. >> this week we're close to 1-1. it's not the same style. this has been harder to do, you know, when you go after somebody on a negative campaign you not only have to have issues but get the character hit. newt, the character hit turned out to be pretty easy because there was plenty of verified -- the character hit has been harder with santorum because the
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character hit goes at his own personal beliefs. you have to get into the whole social conservative conversation which is not a great place for mitt romney. >> it's a tricky subject. >> it is a trickier hit and that's where they've been trying to go. the thing is santorum has helped him here. the media and asking of this question and santorum's inability to get out of anything. >> you think he is too weird for the voter. >> i think he -- what he has presented himself to be this week is not good for -- >> he always seems to step in it just when he's getting a lead like he did coming out of iowa. he seems to not know how to sustain a good performance. >> jonathan martin put it well this morning to me on my show when he said, you know, he's like newt. he thinks he can just talk his way out of -- he wants to explain his position in such detail that at that point you're like oh, too much, man. just talk to me about the manufacturing policy. >> it's all topic selection. politics is what are you talking about? >> you don't want to make people squirm in their seats. contraception, all that makes some squirm in their seats even if they might agree with something you're saying.
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>> these numbers really tell us a lot about the organization of romney versus the momentum of the other guy if you will. in michigan romney leads santorum among those who voted early not today. not next tuesday. but have already voted 49-26. that is a romney walk away. if you take away the early vote it's basically tied. it's the same pattern in arizona among early voters, people who voted by mail or at the voting booths. how do you vote in arizona? >> an early vote and you can do both by mail and i think there is a drop off. it's one of those western states. 50% have already voted. >> again in arizona mitt romney leads by a whopping 30 points but among those who haven't yet voted it is basically tied. what is it about the voting day voters where rick santorum seems to do so much better? >> part of it is simply romney is banking, he knows who his supporters are and has banked those supporters and in arizona he is helped by what is a modestly higher than normal mormon population. he's worked that organizationally but this is the advantages of being a candidate, being a national front-runner,
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having the organizations in place two, three, four weeks in advance. >> here is the barn burner and the one nobody is ready for. you'll remember this at dinner tonight. the auto bailout is very popular among all voters in michigan as you might expect. michigan, motown. 63% said it was a good idea. remember that. two-thirds of michigan loves the idea of the bailout. among likely republican primary voters, those likely to vote next tuesday in this primary, less popular. i'd say. 50% say it's a bad idea. only 42%. >> you say only. i say still 42%. the load bailout is a loaded term. look at it more the other way. 42% of republican primary voters. >> okay. you're half full. >> i'm stunned at the fact that most republicans don't like the bailout of the auto industry in michigan. >> it's -- you can't say most when it's 50%. you are basically saying it's more of a one to one among republicans. >> explain that. even in michigan. >> part of it is the tea party, the government intervention.
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you still have a large chunk of the, i would say, my guess and i want to dig more into the numbers of who were supporters of this, it would be the older, second and third generation michiganders who are republicans but also have this sort of sentimental view of the auto industry. >> they don't have the libertarian view. in the head-to-head matchup the president leads romney in michigan by nearly 20 points for the general, and beats santorum by a wider margin. in arizona the president still trails 45-40. basically a republican state. i watch these commercials on our network here the ones about reverse mortgages that henry winkler does. and fred thompson did. isn't it what romney is doing, reverse mortgage. and all these guys, they are getting votes in primaries, getting the cash up front and giving away the house. they're losing general election votes by the way they're campaigning. michigan 18 points down to the president. >> absolutely. because when he first stepped into the state it became a conversation about the auto bailout and he immediately was on the defensive. remember, one of the romney
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arguments was he was the only guy running that could expand the map. because he was going to put michigan in play which hasn't been in play since arguably since bush '88 and you're down 18? i mean -- >> that's what mccain lost by. >> so okay. maybe he can cut it to single digits, but if you are not expanding the map then that's resources saved. look -- >> is that the pattern that we've seen in this sort of scorched earth policy of negative, negative, negative? as they go through the states, is the republican party hurting itself in the way it's -- >> i think the conversation that's been had, more damage has been done the last three weeks in the conversation turning to social issues. that that's what's hurting the republican party. because, you know, the polls weren't moving in the president's direction during the january scorched earth campaign that was going on inside the republican party. it's when the conversation switched to religion, contraception, social conservative issues, that suddenly you've seen the republican brand take a hit. i can tell you from what i heard
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and have seen of battleground state polling everywhere, pretty much across the board. >> i'm going to blow your mind, colleague. >> yes, sir. >> you believe we were out in iowa just last month? >> i know. >> it seems like three years ago. >> i always joke every day is a week. >> the iowa caucuses were just a month ago. what? they seem like a year ago. >> every day is a week, every week is a day. >> well said. thank you, chuck todd. up next why doesn't mitt romney talk like the rest of us? this gets into idiom. why can't he just say things like very conservative. why does he say severely conservative. why does he say he likes trees of the same height. we have his debate coach coming up. what is the guy's problem? this is "hardball" only on msnbc.
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as this republican race goes on, republican voters are actually losing interest. the new poll from the associated press finds just 40% of republicans say they have a great deal of interest in this race. that's down from 48% in december. one reason why? only 23% say they're strongly satisfied with the candidates. 40% say they are dissatisfied. didn't need a poll to do that one. one. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] that. right there -- reminds you why you fell in love with her in the first place. and why you still feel the same.
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we're back. we're going to have some fun. why doesn't mitt romney talk like the rest of us? his solo rendition of "america the beautiful" is more memorable than his 59-point economic plan. what we have here is a failure to communicate so far. check out this mash up of mitt romney and the movie "anchorman." it was put together by ask me, the government workers union, which is no friend, of course, of romney's. let's listen. >> a little history. i was born and raised here. i love this state. it seems right here. the trees are the right height. >> i love carpet. >> i like seeing the -- seeing the lakes. i love the lakes. there's just something very special here. the great lakes but also the inland lakes that dot the parts of michigan. >> i love desk. >> are you just looking at things in the office and saying that you love them? >> i love lamp. >> i love cars.
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i don't know. i mean, i grew up totally in love with cars. used to be in the '50s and '60s, if you showed me one square foot of almost any part of the car, i could tell you what brand, the model and so forth. now with all the japanese cars, i'm not so good at it. but i still know the american cars pretty well. >> do you really love the lamp or are you just saying it because you saw it? >> i love lamp. i love lamp. >> i love cars. i love american cars. and long may they rule the world. >> wow. brett o'donnell is a former debate coach for romney and nia-malika henderson is a political reporter for "the washington post." she's laughing. he's not. brett, why aren't you laughing? everybody else is. >> i think, first of all, the comparison is overblown. i think the criticism has been a little overblown as well. is he the best communicator that we've had running for president? no. is he a good communicator? you know, absolutely, i think so. there's moments where in the
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debates he's been very, very good. there's also been moments where, like everyone, he stumbled. i think sometimes we forget that these folks are human.
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let me finish tonight with this. what grabbed me today watching msnbc earlier this morning was the potential closeness of this coming national presidential election. for all the better than before economic news, for all the befoonry on the other side, the latest quinnipiac head-to-head polling shows the country has not committed to re-electing this president. they just haven't. and the reason has to be the usual reason of who he is and how he's done. but question of the president's personality and the way he comes across is an open one. there are people who hate him and there are people heavily invested in him. what comes through in this latest poll which has him within the margin of error with romney and santorum is that the middle is still up for grabs. when you look at the great middle of the electorate, barack obama is not yet the people's choice. i offer this because of the continued 50/50 situation of the general electorate given the relatively good economic news coming across. and again, that mardi gras politics that we're watching on the other side. what other explanation can there be for the continued even
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standoff between obama and romney and obama and santorum that the lack of voter commitment to the president. the issue of accomplishment is easier to assess. he's still not grabd the allegiance of the voter for the basic reason he's not yet seen as grabbing control of the economy. let's face it. where is the booming growth after all these months and series since the recession snit 8.3% jobless rate something to brag about? what about this 2% or slightly above it growth rate? so we have a problem, chicago. this will be a tough as heck campaign heading down to the last counts in ohio and florida and some other states where the voters will be where the country is now. just about 50/50. so the contest is really still ahead. the president's performance on the national stage. can he show confidence without hubris? can he bring the down the the same level of confidence in him that he has in himself? can he be one of us even as he leads us. and can he get the combination of good policy and good luck to bring the jobless rate down because if he can't, this

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